The White House has announced that President Bush intends to renominate 20 of his most controversial picks for the federal courts, including those who were blocked by Democratic filibusters. “The childish message to Senate Democrats could hardly be clearer: I dare you to try filibustering them again,” wrote the Washington Post editorial board.
Among President Bush’s intended nominees to be placed once again before the Senate are several who are ardently opposed to abortion rights, women’s rights, civil rights, and environmental protections. These include Janice Rogers Brown, who voted in favor of California's parental consent statute and voted against a ruling that would stop racially discriminatory speech in a work place because, she wrote, racist remarks at work are protected by the First Amendment; William Pryor, who called the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," and "the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children"; and William Myers, who was opposed not only for his views on reproductive rights but also because of his decades of fighting for the rights of cattle ranchers and the mining industry over the protection of the environment and the rights of Native Americans.
After the 2004 election, the US Senate is made up of 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and one Independent. It takes only 41 votes to sustain a filibuster. However, Senate Republicans have been threatening to employ a “nuclear option” which would disallow filibusters on judicial nominations so that confirmation of nominees would require only a simple 51-vote majority. New Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has vowed to use procedural measures to slow Senate business to a crawl if Republicans try to change the rules on filibusters, according to USA Today.
The Feminist Majority is part of a broad coalition of women’s rights, civil rights, lesbian and gay rights, environmental, labor, and disability rights groups that has been urging Senate Democrats to filibuster extremist, right-wing nominees to the federal courts.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .